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DISCLAIMER

The views expressed in this blog are based entirely on personal tastes and preferences. Please do not take them as professional interpretations.

If you have any comments/suggestions/places you think serve great food, do share with us! Email me at qiuyi_ong@hotmail.com or leave a comment in the tag board. Thanks and cheers to future gastronomical adventures!

MY TO-GO LIST

7ateNine (Eaten!)
Au Jardin (Eaten!)
Au Petit Salut
Buko Nero (Eaten!)
Cugini (Eaten!)
Forlino (Eaten!)
Gunther's
Jaan (Eaten!)
La Strada
Le Bistrot
Nicolas
Pasta Brava (Eaten!)
Sage (Eaten!)
Tatsuya
Tetsu (Eaten!)

I LIKE

Canele
Cugini
Kuriya
Le Figue
LivinGreens
Nanbantei
Ootoya
Original Sin
Pasta Brava
Sage
Tetsu
Valentino

PAST ENTRIES

April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Revive (6th Visit)
33 Lorne/280 Queen Street, Auckland
(09) 303 0429

It's a good thing that there's a branch of Revive near the university so that I can drop in for a quick lunch anytime. The Italian Tart with Onion Jam, Olives and Mushrooms (NZD$14.90) was incredible! The flavours and texture of the baked tart were awesome. And there was a sprinkle of pine nuts too.

This is a clear winner for me!

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1:50 PM

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Revive (5th Visit)
16 Fort St, Auckland, New Zealand
09 307 1586

Call me boring but I decided to have the Frittata of the Week (NZD$12.90) for lunch today. It was either this or the Mexican Burrito which sounded interesting but just looked like a huge 'popiah'. I was won over by the Frittata's appearance and its description: "Spanish Frittata with Sundried Tomatoes, Free Range Organic Eggs, Potato and Delicious Apricot Chutney". Doesn't that just sound delicious?

And it was really good except that I wish there's more sundried tomatoes in it. Ok, I promise not to have any more frittatas next week! It does get boring after a while.

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12:17 PM

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Alumni Host Family Dinner
Jennie and David Oakley

Usually, I would only post on food I've eaten in cafes and restaurants but I have to make an exception today because of the incredibly nice dinner I had. I participated in the university's alumni host family dinner programme for international students and Jue and I were allocated to the Oakley family. The dinner was far more than what I've expected. Obviously, Jennie put much effort in it. Look at the lovely and intimate setting Jennie laid out.

We started with a pumpkin and carrot soup sprinkled with chopped parsley. It's robust with flavours and the consistency was good.

Jennie made a fish pie and served it with steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

We ended dinner on a sweet note with a baked apple stuffed with marshmallow and date, topped with yoghurt.

A dinner made with love is the best meal anyone can ask for!

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6:27 PM

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Revive (4th Visit)
33 Lorne/280 Queen St, Auckland, New Zealand
09 303 0429

After the lovely frittata I tried last week, I decided to have a go at it again. This week's Frittata (NZD$12.90) is made with mushrooms and thyme, with the usual potato, onions and egg in it as well. Taste wise, it's still delicious but the entire time of the meal was spent thinking that there's something missing. Finally, it hit me: there's apparently no thyme in it!

The Sesame, Spinach and Broccoli Salad with roasted carrots and fresh sprouts was very fresh and a lovely complement to the frittata. I can't wait to see what's the menu for next week!

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1:09 PM

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Revive (3rd Visit)
16 Fort St, Auckland, New Zealand
09 307 1586

I had high expectations of the Rainbow Bake (NZD$14.90) and I wasn't disappointed! Not only does it look visually pleasing to the eye, the flavours work together harmoniously well. There's spinach as the base, roasted beetroot in the middle and finally pumpkin on top with scattered seeds.

Two thumbs (and ten toes) up! This makes me want to bake again...

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6:02 PM

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Revive (2nd Visit)
16 Fort St, Auckland, New Zealand
09 307 1586

I went to another branch of Revive for lunch after checking out their menu for the week.

The Shepherdess Pie (NZD$14.90) was good initially but proved to be overwhelming after a few more bites. The proportion of potato to lentils is totally skewed, with the latter comprising only a thin layer at the base. The saving grace was the Organic Mega Bean Salad which was as good as the one I tried last week.


The place was packed with working adults when I first arrived. By the time I'm done, the whole place was deserted and it's nice having the place to myself.

Note to self: Don't make the bad choice of choosing a shepherd pie again since it's extremely hard to find one that's tasty and well-proportioned!

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1:53 PM

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Revive
33 Lorne/280 Queen St, Auckland, New Zealand
09 303 0429

I met up with Zoey after class for dinner at this vegetarian and semi-organic health bar which I read about in Lonely Planet.

The Frittata Florentine (NZD$12.90) was excellent! It's baked with spinach, free range organic eggs, potato and came with a apricot chutney. The accompanying Organic Mega Bean Salad with Feta Cheese and Pumpkin was equally good with a creamy texture.


This is my first time trying a Moroccan Tangine (NZD$11.90) and Revive's version is made with organic white beans and roasted vegetables. It's intended to be served on brown rice but I requested for lentils instead. I like this! It's like a thick curry that's not spicy and much healthier.

Revive is possibly the first sit down eating place in Auckland or even New Zealand that does not serve caffeinated tea or coffee. And it changes its menu every week so that there's always something new to try. I foresee myself being a regular here.

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7:37 PM

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Degree Gastrobar
204 Quay Street, Auckland, New Zealand
64 9 377 1200

I joined Florian and Sandra for an impromptu farewell lunch as he's leaving tomorrow for Thailand. Initially, we wanted to have an Italian meal but the restaurant was closed so we decided to eat here at the recommendation of Florian who has been here before.

Florian ordered the Pizza Bread (NZD$7.50) intending to share but I didn't feel like eating bread and Sandra don't eat tomatoes so he had to finish the whole thing by himself! I did try the olive tapenade and it's quite fragrant.


I ordered the Warm Chicken Tikka (NZD$18.50) and Florian decided to have the same. Both of us agreed that it's very good as all the ingredients are well-balanced. The salad has feta, sun dried tomato, cashew nuts and a mint yoghurt dressing.

Sandra opted for Jamaican Chicken Curry (NZD$19.50) which came with rice, mango chutney, spiced yoghurt, and naan bread.

Degree is apparently quite a popular restaurant and bar on Auckland's Viaduct Harbour. While the other restaurants here are overpriced due to the wonderful view, this gastrobar serves good food at reasonable prices.

The company for lunch this afternoon was wonderful. I hope Florian will keep his promise to invite me to his wedding next year!

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3:11 PM

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Antonio's Gelato
75 Tongariro Street, Taupo

On the last day of our trip, Sebastian and I finally found something in common to eat together: ice cream! We decided to have a dessert after lunch after walking past this little shop in town.

I knew immediately that I want the Dark Chocolate flavour after seeing its rich and decadent colour. After deliberating between Tiramisu and Nutty Mocha, the latter won as I wanted a crunchy texture to the smooth ice cream (NZD$4 for 2 scoops).

As usual, I didn't eat the cone since I don't like waffle cones. Seriously, someone should invent something for people like me who likes to lick ice cream but don't like the cone so that I can stop wasting food. A "cup" cone, perhaps?

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4:01 PM

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Full of Beans Coffee House
11 Tamamutu Street, Taupo Central, New Zealand
07-378 3803

I chose to have lunch at this small cafe instead of the Thai restaurant beside it.

The counter had a display of the typical cafe food like salads, pies and cakes. The Tuna and Lemon Rissole (NZD$4.50) caught my eye straightaway. Essentially, it's a croquette with a very strong tuna taste which suited me just fine.

I pleasantly was surprised by the rather pretty presentation of the food, given that the price is so cheap and this is more of a coffee house than a cafe after all. As I was eating, a happy customer called out "Tell the chef he did a great job with my salad!" to the staff before walking out.

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12:44 PM

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Ujazi Cafe
28 Tennyson St, Napier City, New Zealand
06-835 1490

Napier, gateway to Hawke's Bay Wine Country (as the region is branded), is a popular tourist city and has a celebrated Art Deco heritage and history. As a foodie, I was anticipating an excellent meal as I've read many glowing reviews on this cafe.


After a rather long time deliberating over which item to order, I finally decided on the Vegetarian Lasagna (NZD$9). And I'm glad I made the right choice! I think this is by far the best lasagna I've ever had. It's filled with generous amount of mushrooms, pumpkins, nuts and seeds, and other vegetables. The best thing is that it didn't fall apart, unlike other lasagnas.

The cafe was very crowded during lunch time and many diners chose to dine al fresco because the sun is out today!

Fabulous food, beautiful presentation, great service and reasonable prices... Really, I can't think of anything else to ask for. This cafe is truly outstanding!

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2:27 PM

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Out of the Blue
227 Main Rd, Tairua, Coromandel, New Zealand
07-864 8987

Due to the late hour, this cafe was the only one that was opened in the small town of Tairua.

The Vegetable Frittata (NZD$7) may not look appetising but it's surprisingly good! The flavours of the pumpkin, spinach, egg and cheese balanced out nicely.

Because the cafe was about to close while I was waiting for my order, the owner offered me a Date Scone free of charge! She explained that they do not keep any leftovers as all baked goods are made freshly each day. I'm lucky to be in the right place at the right time!

I suppose that this must be a popular place with the locals as all the items on the menu were already sold out while I was there. Since they were closing, I didn't have the chance to eat in the cafe and had to take away the food instead.

Lovely food at reasonable price with friendly service!

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3:09 PM

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Miscellaneous Food!

Here are some snapshots of food I ate during the roadtrip up North.

After Josselin, Nigel and I reached Kaitaia and introduced ourselves to our couchsurfing host, it was almost past 9pm and the only store open in town was a nondescript takeaway store selling Chinese and "European" food. To my dismay, their version of European food is merely fish and chips (NZD$5)! It was quite horrible: the batter was oily and thick, and too much salt was added.

On the 2nd day, we took a day tour with Harrison Cape Runner (NZD$45) and the driver dropped us at a dairy store selling cheap ice cream. Tip Top is New Zealand's leading ice cream maker but before I came here, I've never even heard of it. Now, I see it everywhere! I had the Pure Passion (NZD$2) which was so cheap for a single gigantic scoop!

On our last day in Kerikeri, we decided to make a quick stop at Makana Confections Chocolate Factory to taste some of its free samples after our couchsurfing host recommended it to us. The handmade Macadamia Butter Toffee Crunch was almost perfect! I say "almost" because it's coated with milk chocolate which I don't like.

I guess one of the gastronomical lessons I've learnt on this trip is not to trust any takeaway stores!

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7:09 PM

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Cafe Jerusalem
Cobblestone Mall, Kerikeri, Northland, New Zealand
09 407 1001

After reading positive reviews about this place serving the best falafels in Northland, Josselin, Nigel and I managed to find this cafe tucked away in a corner at the back of Cobblestone Mall.

I took less than a minute to decide on what to order after scanning through the menu. The Falafel Salad (NZD$9) is a clear winner! The chickpea patties are served on a bed of mesclun salad and tabuleh, topped with mint yoghurt and tehina. All the ingredients were fresh and complemented each other perfectly. The serving was so generous that I didn't have to eat dinner that day!

Josselin had the Koftas Pita (NZD$9) stuffed with salad, tabuleh, hummus, spicy tomato, mint yoghurt and tehina. The koftas are made with minced beef and lamb, and spiced with coriander, cumin, tumeric and chilli before being grilled.

Nigel's Shishlik Pita (NZD$9) was very similar to Josselin's pita, except that instead of koftas, the pita was stuffed with diced chicken breast marinated in herbs.

Eating in the cafe made me feel as though I'm really in the Middle East. The walls are decorated with ancient photos, the Israel flag was displayed proudly and prominently, and Middle Eastern music wafted through the air as we dined.
The prices are more than reasonable for both the quantity and quality of the food served! We left the cafe feeling full and satisfied. This is definitely one of the best Middle Eastern meals I've ever had.

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1:09 PM

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Nutritious & Delicious
68A Cameron Street, Whangarei, New Zealand
09 430 0334

While Josselin and Nigel decided to have meat pies for lunch, I decided to get my food from this cafe which caught my eye when we walked past it earlier.

There were many different types of wraps, rolls, sandwiches and salads to choose from. I finally decided on the Quinoa Vegetable Patty (NZD$5) which was served with a salad and chutney. It's good! The quinoa added a nutty flavor to the patty and the tangy chutney prevented it from being too bland.

The staff on duty was very friendly and efficient! Since this is more of a takeaway store, the cafe is rather small and narrow. I was surprised that the prices are so reasonable given that most of the food is organic and sprayfree.


It's such a pity that I'm only passing through Whangarei for a quick lunch. I would love to try the other items on the menu as all of them sound so good!

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3:09 PM

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mrs Higgins Oven Fresh Cookies
268 Queen Street, Auckland CBD, New Zealand
09 373 4284

Whenever I pass by this shop along Queen Street, the smell of chocolate and cookies always make me stop and have a second look.

The Chocolate Fudge Brownie (NZD$2.80) is a decadent ‘Chocolatey’ American Style Brownie. It is very moist and contains lots of chocolate chips throughout.

I didn't like the Chocolate Macadamia Nut Fudge (NZD$2.80) as it's made with milk chocolate!

After having a bite or two, I gave the rest to Ko and MJ as I find them to be too sweet for my liking. Now when I pass by Mrs Higgins, I can stop wondering what the fuss is all about.

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2:14 PM

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Riverside Lodge
1 Riverside Lane, Te Kuiti, New Zealand
07-878 8027

After a couple of wrong turns, I finally found this lovely little restaurant which is located right besides the river.

The Soup of the Day (NZD$10) is Morrocan Tomato Soup served with hot crusty farmhouse bread. I like it! The consistency of the soup was just nice--not too watery nor too thick.

The Vegetarian Gratin (NZD$18) was awesome! Smoked mushrooms, spinach, balsamic onions and zesty sundried tomatoes are oven baked on a bed of potato with melted mozzarella, topped with a tasty herb and garlic crumb and a petit salad. The serving is so large that I couldn't finish it even though it's delicious.

The Lamb Sandwich (NZD$19) consists of rosemary and garlic slow roasted lamb with pan gravy, thick mint sauce, caramelised onions on mixed salad greens and farmhouse bread with melted cheddar cheese. I didn't try it but it looked pretty good and the portion was generous as well.

After the wonderful mains, I expected desserts to be as fabulous but it was not. The Rhubarb Crumble Pie (NZD$9) served with vanilla ice cream was average. I didn't like the pastry as it was too thick.

The restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere and cosy setting. Service was rather slow though as there was only one waitress on duty.

Presentation of the food was excellent and the portions served more than justify the price tags. I really enjoyed my dinner here and would recommend this place to anyone who happens to pass by Te Kuiti!

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7:15 PM

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WELCOME!

In ancient Greek mythology, sirens are creatures which have the body of a bird and the head of a woman. They have such sweet voices that sailors who heard their songs were lured into grounding their boats on the rocks on which the nymphs sang.

To me, food are like the sirens in so many ways. Intoxicating, wonderful, beautiful and yet, so very deadly if you let them get the better of you. Food is a big part of my life and it’s meant to be appreciated and savored slowly. I admit that I am extremely particular about what I eat. If it’s not something I want to put in my body, I’d rather not eat. Some people eat to live while others live to eat. I’ve yet to discover which side of the camp I’m in… What about you?

I hope that you will enjoy reading about my food adventures as much as I like writing them. And many thanks to my family and friends who always wait patiently for me to take photos before digging in!

LOCAL FOODIES' BLOGS

Ate Too Much
Gastronomic Ruminations
She Bakes & She Cooks
Singapore Daily Makan Photo
Small Potatpes Make the Steak Look Bigger
The Orthorexic Foodie
The Skinny Epicurean
Timeless Facade
Food Glorious Food

FOOD FOR THOUGHT